Brink’s Job, The (1978): Friedkin’s Oscar Nominated Heist Tale, Starring Peter Faulk

Some bumbling crooks pull off the heist of the century in Boston, despite themselves, in William Friedkin’s semi-successful effort of blending comedy and action.

“The Brink’s Job” was inspired by the real life robbery of the Brink’s company’s Boston headquarters in January 1950.  At the time of the movie’s release in 1978, it was the only successful robbery of a Brink’s company building, though a Brink’s armored car would be ambushed by thieves in Nanuet, New York in 1980.

Tony Pino (Peter Faulk) is a small time crook whose attempts to stage large scale robberies have a habit of going hilariously awry–he fares better at running a diner and fencing stolen radios than making a living as a thief.

However, while casing out a Goodwill office with his brother in law Vinnie (Allen Goorwitz) in hopes of robbing the safe, Tony notices the Brink’s Armored Car Company’s building close by, and begin thinking of how hard it would be to break in.

The more Tony investigates, the more he discovers the security at Brink’s is not as strict as reputation would suggest. Getting in might be within his abilities.

Tony assembles a crew of thieves, all stereotypes– clumsy Vinnie, sharp-dressing bookie Jazz (Paul Sorvino), money launderer Joe (Peter Boyle), fast-talking but edgy Specs (Warren Oates), funny man Stanley (Kevin J. O’Connor) and nice guy Sandy (Gerard Murphy). Jointly, they pull off the biggest cash robbery of their time, walking away with $1.5 million.

But stealing the money is one thing, and keeping their mouths shut and not going crazy as they wait for the statute of limitations to run out on the job is something else.

Gena Rowlands is the only major female in the male cast.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Art Direction-Set Decoration: Dean Tavoularis and Angelo Graham

Oscar Context:

The winner was “Heaven Can Wait.”

 

Running time: 103 Minutes.

Directed by William Friedkin

Written by Walon Green